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Microsoft Updates Bing To Add ChatGPT AI Technology

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all—search,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said Tuesday.

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Gabby Jones/Bloomberg

It’s suddenly game on in the long-dormant battle for the internet search market.

As expected,
(ticker: MSFT) this morning announced an upgrade to its Bing search engine to include the generative artificial intelligence technology behind ChatGPT. The idea is to make search a more conversational experience— to allow people to ask natural language questions, and to receive better answers than simply blue links. 

Microsoft is also updating the search features in its Edge web browser.

“AI will fundamentally change every software category, starting with the largest category of all—search,” Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement. “Today, we’re launching Bing and Edge powered by AI copilot and chat, to help people get more from search and the web.”

The company said the new version of Bing will provide improved search results, complete answers to questions, a new chat experience and “a creative spark,” including original content.

“There are times when you need more than an answer—you need inspiration,” Microsoft said in a blog about the updated search engine. “The new Bing can generate the content to help you. It can help you write an email, create a 5-day itinerary for a dream vacation to Hawaii, with links to book your travel and accommodations, prep for a job interview or create a quiz for trivia night. The new Bing also cites all its sources, so you’re able to see links to the web content it references.”

The idea of creating a search engine that works with natural language has been around for a long time—it was the original goal of the old search engine Ask Jeeves, which was launched 25 years ago and later morphed into and was acquired by the internet holding company

“Ask Jeeves is a provider of natural-language question answering services on the internet for consumers and companies, establishing a new way to interact with the World Wide Web,” the company said in the prospectus for its 1999 IPO.

But a lot has changed in 25 years—far more powerful processors and algorithms, new techniques in AI and machine learning, and the vast reach and capabilities of cloud computing. Another thing that’s changed is the dominance of Google in the search market. By at least one measure, the
(GOOGL) unit has 93% market share, with Bing a distant second at 3%. 

Microsoft clearly sees an opportunity here—the company recently increased its investment in ChatGPT parent Open AI, reportedly by $10 billion. Meanwhile, Google jumped the gun on the Microsoft event by a day. On Monday, Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai announced plans for Bard, a new generative AI tool, and noted that it plans to add AI functionality to Google search.

“Bard seeks to combine the breadth of the world’s knowledge with the power, intelligence and creativity of our large language models,” Pichai wrote. “It draws on information from the web to provide fresh, high-quality responses.”

That’s a key point of differentiation with ChatGPT, which does not access the open web. But the real competition for Google is Bing, not ChatGPT.

In another related development, the China-based search and technology company
(BIDU) on Tuesday provided a look at a new AI chatbot service of its own, called ERNIE bot.

Shares of all three search players are headed higher on Tuesday, with Alphabet up 2.9% Microsoft 3.3% higher, and Baidu ahead 11.4%. Meanwhile, the market has rapidly turned cold on a handful of small cap AI plays that had been bid up in recent sessions—
(AI) is down 13.5%,
(SOUN) is off 12.9%,
(BBAI) is 16.5% lower, and
(BZFD) is off 22.7%.

Write to Eric J. Savitz at


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